7 Strategies to Start a Business Online [with SEO on the List]How to
There was a time when ordering groceries was strictly an offline task. Buying it online was considered blasphemy by one-and-many. These days businesses that have an online presence are riding the struggle with greater ease. The point we're trying to make?
If you've not thought about starting a business online, it's time to take a leap of faith. After all, the Internet is a magical place where there are limitless customers you can tap into and expand your business on an unprecedented scale. However, it may seem daunting if you don't know where to start from. This blog post will give you a brisk overview of the matter, while the guys from FirstSiteGuide will show you how to make money online, and be a successful entrepreneur.
To that end, we will look at how to start your business online and adapt to the dynamic world of digital marketing from scratch!
1. Choose a Platform that Works for You
First things first, you need to zero in on a platform that you think fits well your business needs and your target audience. For instance, there is WordPress (WordPress.org) – the world's most popular content management system with over 20bn views a month. You'll be surprised to know that it is known to power 35.2% of all websites. Additionally, it powers 14.7% of the world’s top websites. Plus, you can choose from a variety of free or premium WordPress business themes and plugins instead of coughing up money for graphic designing for your website. That's not all. You can also customize your own pages using the site's drag-and-drop website page builder.
Note that in order to start a website on WordPress, you'll need a domain name and web hosting account.
2. Search Engine Optimization Runs the Show
Imagine you own a bookstore and have recently started selling books online. A potential customer googles ‘Buy Harry Potter book,’ and they click on the first link that appears. Your website also appears, but on the second page. In the digital world, it might as well appear on the fifteenth page, and it won't matter.
Why? Well, it's fair to assume that the customer may never know about your business or consider buying from your platform because it's not on the first page of Google search. No one has the time to browse each and every link on the Google search ranking pages.
In short, the adage, ‘Out of sight, out of mind’ is extremely relevant in the digital world. If your business is not making itself visible in the relevant and right places, you might as well shut shop.
The need of the hour? Try ranking competitively – and organically – on Google's search engine results pages (SERPs). Here's how you can climb this proverbial mount Everest: one way would be to hire an SEO specialist who can analyze and optimize your website for specific keywords, another to figure everything out by yourself.
You can get access to Netpeak Spider SEO tool that can provide a deep, page-by-page analysis of your current SEO situation. Plus, this tool can guide you on how to optimize your site's on-page and off-page SEO data even if you’re a complete newbie.
You’ll probably need a checklist to check off as you go with website audit. With this checklist: ‘Checklist for Regular Monitoring of a Website with Netpeak Spider and Checker,’ you can timely detect failed pages which are vital for your website, and fix them. You can’t simply turn a blind eye to these little bugs because they can drown your whole business venture.
3. Quality Content Blogging
If you wish to gain the attention of your customers and dominate your industry with some well-earned authority, you need to start building a blog or community that provides relevant and high-quality content.
Why do you need it? In fact, data suggests that 70% of consumers would rather learn about a company from a blog post rather than an advert. So it gives your business another streak of opportunities – for most of the businesses blogs are the top of the sales funnel which task is to attract the prospects and convert them into the leads.
Despite the obvious conversion-driven value, take the time to think about another question that every blog post needs to address: ‘What value is this blog post going to bring to my readers?’
Today, readers are increasingly looking for content that is insightful and unique in its own right. And one of the best ways to create content that delivers value is by delivering good quality blogs, regularly, and with consistent quality.
Here's some food for thought: there are over 152 million blogs on the Internet today and a new blog post is published every 0.5 seconds. But, surprise surprise: the average person spends 37 seconds reading a blog post. So how will you make sure you capture your reader's attention and ensure that your posts stand out from the rest?
Handy tips to keep in mind:
- Ensure that every blog you put out there is keyword-centric so that it grabs the right eyeballs and is being spoken out in the right industry circles.
- Look at marketing your blog on reader-intensive platforms such as LinkedIn, Quora, Medium, and Reddit. Simply pitch different articles on these platforms and link them back to your website's blog page using a primary keyword. This will help drive greater traffic to your website. Note that this tip is especially useful if you're just starting out on your digital journey. However, be careful with business promotion since some of the platforms treat such steps suspiciously.
- Research indicates that the optimal length for a blog post should be between 2,250 - 2,500 words with an ideal reading time of 7 minutes.
- The perfect blog headline should constitute around 11-14 words and cover the essence of the post.
- The most popular time for reading blogs is between 7 am, and 10 am.
4. Facebook Ads & LinkedIn Groups: The Best Investments for Online Business
We all know that Facebook ads aren't free, but they're definitely worth every penny invested. And why not? After all, Facebook has 2.4 billion monthly active users, making it one of the most popular social networking websites in the world! It makes business and logical sense to spend on Facebook ads so that your website can gain the right visibility.
If you're wondering about where to begin, we'll help you out. First, you need to do some research to understand your ideal customer. Remember to factor in key metrics such as geographical location, age, gender, interests, among other things. Once you've gathered all the relevant data, you can place ads (with the right content) on strategically-targeted and optimized landing pages or squeeze pages as they're commonly called.
Sure, it may take some experimentation and time to see which pages are getting you the maximum number of customers, so be patient and keep at it. The idea is to turn the campaign profitable and eventually scale.
Next comes LinkedIn groups. Perhaps one of the best things about this feature is that you can send messages to people whether or not you have mutual connections with them. The end-goal here should be to network within your industry with like-minded people, discuss ideas, and engage in the sense of mutual learning.
Make sure to stay away from being branded as ‘Spammy’ as no one likes to be bombarded with excessive content. Stay visible, share often, add value. That's the mantra that works every single time!
Despite the obvious reasons such as growing a community of like-minded people and engaging them with your business, social media is also one of the best strategies for link building. Backlinks (links that lead to your site from other sites, blogs, and social networks) make the world of difference since it’s one of the main ranking factors approved by Google. To create great content and polish your website SEO is not enough, you have to amplify it through the web to make it seen and heard by introducing link building campaign.
5. Live Chat to the Rescue
There's no denying that we live in the age of instant gratification, which is why the live chat feature is such a hit among businesses and customers alike.
One of the primary reasons why more and more customers are embracing this intuitive and intelligent technology is because it offers them instant resolutions. In fact, recent research suggests that 79% of consumers prefer live chats because they offer instant responses. Plus, with live chat support, you can address customer queries round-the-clock whether or not you have live agents at work or not.
The fact of the matter? Implementing live chat can help online businesses get more customers, organically, and sustainably. This, in turn, helps build long-term relationships with customers as they feel valued and appreciated by the brand. Win-win for all!
6. Engage in Email Marketing from Day 1
Every business – online or offline – wants to develop a meaningful relationship with the customer. This is where email marketing can come to your aid. Via email, it’s easier to reach out to your customers, create personal content, offer special services, products depending on your client’s needs and interests, etc. Here's how this feature works:
- A customer logs onto the website.
- You offer them discounts or free products / service / access to webinars / tools studies/ebooks/reports in exchange for their email address.
- From there, you start building your email list.
- Voila, you're done!
The next step is to build engaging and valuable email marketing campaigns by using systems such as eSputnik, Mailchimp, Get Response, Constant Contact, etc. These marketing software platforms offer a combination of easy-to-use templates and automated emails based on triggered events. With catching newsletters and thoughtful segmentation your email marketing will succeed.
7. YouTube as Your Go-To for all Video-Related Things
Another video streaming platform that has sky-rocketed in terms of the number of users is YouTube. Today, it has over 1.9 bn logged-in monthly users. It is the world's second-largest search engine (after Google) and boasts of over 500 hours of video uploads every minute.
Clearly, this platform has plenty to offer for every aspiring business / entrepreneur. So if your business allows it, invest time in creating useful video tutorials on the YouTube channel. Truth being told, YouTube marketing won’t bring you dazzling conversion rates, however, it will help build rapprochement with your target audience and increase brand awareness. If your goal is to stage brand awareness, grab this marketing channel opportunity.
Make sure to add relevant links in the description section which circle back to your site. You may need to engage the services of a digital marketing agency to start with, but it's worth the investment to get the page going.
Note that these tips are just the tip of the iceberg. That said, we believe that these cover the basics of true digital marketing, which is just what you need right now. Let’s briefly recap the main takeaways:
- Choose the platform where you’ll be growing your business.
- Think about SEO at the inception of the idea to switch your business online.
- Create community via quality content blogging and bring value to your users.
- Social media will help you target the right audience and increase brand awareness.
- Live chats help to immediately respond to customers requests.
- Email marketing can bring a bit flexibility and personalization to rapprochement with your customers.
- Time and again, if the idea of increasing brand awareness is one of your marketing goals, think about YouTube channel as another entrance to the sales funnel.
Tell us which of these digital marketing tips appeal the most to you, and let's talk business over a virtual coffee session at the moment ☕